The Sum of my Being

Things I know for sure

are mapped out

in a geographical atlas

of love. The past has planted itself

in harsh terrains

over places that my heart

has chosen to forget…

but only for moments.

The geography of love

is measured by the distances

between what I gave

and what was left behind

through vast rivers of tears,

down valleys of disappointments,

into landscapes of forgiveness.

The lifeline of me is an illustration

that’s neither here or there

calculating winnings and losses

which have molded me into

some mystical monument at this time.

I have provided virgin territory

for another explorer

to conquer in me,

settle into my continent,

while allowing the outer

ocean waters of life

to gently touch the shores

of my heart

so I can give back what I know for sure:

the sum of my being.

T is for Trust

traveling

Two friends and I sat yesterday afternoon briefly discussing what we were going to do after our retreat center sold. I get asked a lot about my future plans. “I don’t know” is the only answer I can give. I have no clue. It’s the first time in my life that I don’t have a plan that sets my future on gear. I do know what I don’t want. I can feel my body constrict and heart palpitations take place when I think of settling down again in a house and in one place. I can feel my breathing get erratic when I think about being stuck immediately after getting out of this huge responsibility. So, yes….the I-don’t-know answer is accurate but it’s rarely received well by others. People need certainty. People are conformed and programmed to know. To hear a 47 year-old woman say, “I have no clue” is somehow perceived as an irrational and insane behavior. Some would think I was going through a major midlife crisis.

One of my friends who has been traveling extensively the last few years shared his story. He sold everything and just returned to the states from Italy. He said to me, “T is for trust. Trust is a marvelous design. It will never do you wrong.” And, I have to know that it is. Until this moment I have always known what I needed and wanted and follow through with every expectation.

All of my life I have been stable and responsible in making sure everyone around me was taken care of and was lacking nothing. In the process I stopped asking what Millie wanted. Now in view that there is open fields ahead I have nothing but the idea to take some time and leave the premises. The baby is small enough that she adjusts to anything. Matt (my fiance) can work from any place as long as he has a computer at hand. When I shared with him a month ago that I just couldn’t settle he took a deep breath and said, “We can make this work. We can do whatever you want.”  It’s priceless to have a mate who supports your wishes and desires.  He is excited to trek new mountains, fish in new ponds, and backpack through forests.  I am beyond giddy to experience nature through my own senses rather than reading of others’ experiences. 

The things I know for certain are based on dreams. My middle name is America, after my paternal grandmother. I was destined to travel this country and see every part that has been in my little head all these years. I own the label and title. But, the what if’s seem to start lurking throughout the nights as we get closer to reaching the new stage of this journey. As we close one chapter and another opens I get those familiar doubts visit me in moments of restlessness. Then I remember one of the most amazing quotes from the movie Letters to Juliet: “What” and “If” are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: What if? What if? What if? I don’t know how your story ended but if what you felt then was true love, then it’s never too late. If it was true then, why wouldn’t it be true now? You need only the courage to follow your heart.”

Follow your heart”…my spirit keeps echoing in moments of clarity when the world isn’t questioning my motifs. Follow my heart through intuitive guidance that lets me know I will make money writing and traveling (I don’t need to know right now how). Follow all that I know for certain: I cannot be caged like a broken-winged bird. It’s time to take flight and move through my dreams. I want to meet folks along the way and write their stories. I want to be touched spiritually by all that is out there. I have been an obedient student the past five years. It’s time. The voices answer through the nights, “Get through this stage of uncertainty and the world will open up with all the what if’s you have always questioned.”

I urge you to follow your authentic self, dreams, aspirations and childhood goals. Ask yourself what you want and work towards the urgency that screams inside. Don’t let the uncertainty or society tell you what you should do or not do. Go for it. Make it happen. My “I-don’t-know’s” aren’t really unknown. They lie inside with answers that I, alone, choose not to translate to others at this moment. And that’s magical! For the first time the not knowing is overshadowed by what I do know. I am well on the path to enchantment through the balance and alignment of mind, body and spirit. I am ready to begin living a life that is fulfilling to the little girl in me. I am ready to follow the what if’s and make them work for me….

The Doorway to You

We come in and out

of so many realms:

dreamland,

fantasy land,

daydreams,

never-never land,

altered spaces…

to find the veil

of what we know

being pushed opened

to places beyond

the imagination.

 

Enter without knocking.

Walk over the threshold

without fear.

Find a seat on the ground.

Close your eyes

and let faith be

the guiding light

as you merge with the unknown.

 

The doorway to your subconscious

has no keys,

it’s never locked.

With patience,

surrendering,

deep breathing,

you will find Divinity

sitting with you

in peace and serenity…

you will meet the truth

of who you are.

Return to Love

 Freedom

She could not be tamed,

although they all tried

until he came along

and opened up her world.

He sat with assurance,

a certainty beyond this realm,

that in letting her go

she would always return

because love is never caged,

possessed or owned by

anyone.

Love is meant to roam,

ascending uninhibited and exploring

the endless ventures of these veils

we have restricted in ourselves.

For the first time she was able to dream,

see herself through childlike eyes,

be all she yearned to be,

and stumble into truth

of what others never saw

nor cared to understand.

He made no judgment,

or criticized, allowing passion

to dictate her desire for life.

He never waited with anticipation,

 anxiety, or fear of loss

because in the end

it was always their love

that left crumbs for her descent

returning to his arms

time and time again.

Into the Mist

The more I come closer

to understanding

the depth inside

I realize that I am

looking into the mist

of something that has

no beginning or ending.

It’s a fog that dreams it away

with impressions,

sensations,

assurance,

all reaping what has been sown.

The rarities are engraved in

idyllic representations

of what I see and what I don’t  —

all abstractions of my persona.

These ideas, notions of sorts,

get distracted in the distance.

As I get closer to reaching them

I see a vacancy —

an empty meadow

awaiting my arrival.

My spirit is voided,

held by Divinity,

and in the mist

I witness

the full capacity of love,

compassion,

truth,

and all that seems ignored

through the haze

of belief…

into the arms of God.

Traveling Memories

I lay scanning

through the hard drive

of memories

to find a moment

immersed in the bliss of love.

I don’t know why tonight

I’ve chosen to go

down this Memory Lane

when there are

other streets,

boulevards,

and ways

with far better photographs

in the corner of my mind.

 

I hear the sounds

of summer night:

crickets, bull frogs,

cicadas,

cascades of water

falling into the pond.

 

Sleep got lost down the parkway

and I can no longer

fight with the pillows,

the blanket, a cold bed,

for comfort

while choosing to ignore

the thoughts arriving quickly.

 

I lay trying to find

the rhythm of night

breathing the tight humid air

of the room

imagining and reliving,

changing and adding,

to the stories from long ago.

 

There is loss

in my timeline

that never coincides

with some major events.

The memories replay

movies of youth,

sadness and joy,

antagonists and heroes.

I smile at the darkness

as I journey back

through the lighted path

of Memory Lane –

returning to this place

where life is sweeter;

where peace puts the pieces of me

in perfect order.

 

I close my eyes

to.

find.

sleep.

at last.

in Destiny Way….

Getting Lost

lost 3

This morning on the way back from visiting a community college, my daughter and I got lost in the back roads.  She doesn’t do well with adventures, especially after stressing over college paperwork.  I, on the other hand, while the grandbaby slept peacefully in her car seat, dove into the possibilities of finding a new place, exploring my surroundings, and prayed I didn’t run out of gas.  I get lost often.  Things get lost.  Words get lost.  People get lost.  Life can become a lost playground if we aren’t present for the most part.  Each day gets lost into night and so on.  The hardest part of “lost” is never truly expressing it to someone.  When a relationship is over (regardless if it’s of lovers, parents, children, or friends) there is a lapse of time that can mend and then there isn’t.  Waiting for the perfect opportunity is like waiting for a unicorn to swift us away.  It only happens in the mind.

I used to have an amazing sense of direction.  I don’t anymore.  I go into a new trail, a mountain hike, and if I am not consciously present I will find myself in the middle of unchartered territory. Just like this morning, it happens often.  I rarely question the wrong turn.  I somehow know that I will get through the moment.  My daughter said, “Mom, do you know where you are going? (Several times with much expressed anxiety). And, I answered, “Nope…but all roads lead somewhere!” Not an answer that securely assures a fearful person. Complete exasperation came from the passenger side.  What I have found is that in those lost moments I get the chance to enter a new direction.  Beauty unfolds because I am not on track.  Getting lost is never a waste of time in this sense.  The unknown unfolds and opportunities arise in the most awed-stricken ways.  It’s magical and mysterious.  What an amazing ride!

Sometimes losing someone is just like that…you don’t know how amazing they are until you are in a different terrain.  We take people for granted.  We, as divine entities, have those awakening moments of appreciation but the human part of us clouds them.  We don’t know our asses from our heads at times.  My best friend, Bobbie, has a saying, “Get your head out of your ass.  It wasn’t meant to be worn as a hat.”  Getting lost in the world is magical.  Getting lost in our own turmoil, chaos and mind is a dangerous place.  We are our worst enemies.

I have a way of learning.  I need space, nature and time.  I need to be outside and roam endlessly in the freedom of the world.  This is why I love traveling.  I have on a bucket list the places I will visit and explore in order to find me.  With each journey I know something will open up.  Getting lost is not scary (not in my absent-minded little head).  I am not daunted by this and have never been.  I am, however, intimidated by the loss of people who I love and mean the world to me.  I am perplexed at the way folks come into my life and quickly manage to leave without clearing up issues.  This type of loss from humanity aches inside in a way I avoid…but can’t escape.  We all go through it.

An hour later, and many mountain back roads, we found the way home.  Now hungry and aggravated, my 18 year old laughs.  She said, “I wasn’t really worried!  I was just concerned that we would run out of gas or wouldn’t find a place to eat.” (As if we were on an isolated island with Tom Hanks and Wilson).   I know she thinks that I am an airy-fairy hippie.  I get lost in our conversations, laughter, and love.  She knows this part of me well enough to feel that I can get us back on track while singing (horribly) to the great radio tunes.  It was a gorgeous morning.  The haze over the Blue Ridge Mountains was astonishing and seductive.  I kept saying that “as long as I follow the mountains I know we can make it home.”  And, just like that I found home to be right there in the car surrounded by two beautiful souls, bemused by my yearning to be an explorer.  Getting lost never felt so great!

Knowing Unknowns

There is a saying that most people use when trying to make a point about certainty, “I know it (him/her) like the back of my hand.”  I haven’t really spent too much time knowing the back of my hand to be honest.  I, mean, if it was on a picture among other hands I would know mine (I think).  I don’t know why we use this jargon.  I also don’t know anyone that well.  I don’t even know myself completely.  Who does?  Do you truly know yourself?  Or, are you ever changing, evolving, transforming and moving in a way that surprises you? It sure surprises me.

I have said in many conversations that if “so and so happened to me I would react in such a manner.”  Whenever the Universe has provided a similar event, as an opportunity to grow, I have reacted completely different.  How I think and how I react are sometimes opposites.   I can’t really say anything for certain.  My life is forever changing.  All the shifts push me to think diversely because asymmetrically things are defining everything I think I should become in order to be happy.  It is truly ridiculous to entertain an idea and sit with it until it happens to you.  I am learning not to attach myself to any clichés.  I don’t know myself that well. The balance, the symmetry, and the idea of perfection is an illusion!

Life has a way of challenging our psyche.  It pushes us to a breaking point.  It causes us to see the world in a different manner to experience empathy with our spirit.  Just when I think I know something about me that is certain there is a new lesson guiding me to expand my thoughts, reactions, and outcomes.  I believe patience is born from these moments.  We get the opportunity to expand our perceptions.

Yesterday I was going through the “catch all” junk drawer in my room.  I found a picture of me with my kids when they were younger.  My ex and I took them on a cruise in May of 2007.  Everyone in the picture looks happy. If you look closely, even through my smile, there is a sadness that yells out, “I can’t do this charade any longer!”  We are all standing in front of a field in Old San Juan.  It is the perfect picture for a perfect vacation.  I don’t even know why I had kept that particular picture on this drawer.  I realized at that moment, while closely observing the faces, that my ex wasn’t happy at all.  He was hiding secrets behind his smile.  I was lamenting them and holding on to some belief that someone was going to pull me out of that relationship.  Funny how, in knowing myself, I really had no clue.  A picture captures the physical part of the world, but it also freezes a moment forever.  Who truly knows themselves?

I stared at that picture for the longest time.  I could see the exhaustion and tension inside of me.  Five of our six children stood there posing for the hundredth time.  They were hungry, hot, tired, and just wanted to run around.  I wanted to sit and do nothing.  My ex wanted to explore the jail and reminisce of Cuba.  I was a different person then.  If I think I don’t know myself well enough now, I know I knew nothing about that woman standing in the photograph.

If someone had shown me this picture about another family I am sure I would have commented on something esoteric.  Like, “look at the way the woman’s eyes seem sad. Or, look at the detachment from the man. Or, those kids look nothing alike.”  And then my humanness would have commented, “Why would anyone want such a big family?  How does one travel with that many kids?” I would have judged the idea of what we think we know.  The truth is we know nothing.  We know even less when ego gets a hold of us in a moment of frenzy.

There is no originality to me that stays grounded forever.  I am ever changing.  Events, problems, experiences and people are constantly pushing the cycle of my evolution.  Spiritually, physically and emotionally I am not the same person I was yesterday holding that picture, tracing each face with my index finger (that one that I truly don’t know very well).  I know nothing of what it is to know certainty.  There is no certainty.  There is just this moment, this key stroke, this word, and this middle-aged woman opening her thoughts and heart to you.  I search for the moment of enlightenment as Lao Tzu expresses, “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”  Until that moment I am learning to move with the flow of life…have a blessed day!

Autumn Winds

Hiking trail near Skinny Dip FallsFall has been knocking at the window the past few nights.  I can smell the brisk and cool air through the blinds.  I have watched the moon dance over the dancing trees.  Nighttime hums with anticipation while critters sing with enchantment around the pond. There’s a sense of awareness for what is ahead, perhaps because of the dry and cool winds that appear as we journey through sleep. The changing of the leaves has begun in certain places, especially in our back woods.  We get the first signs of the season in this area because we are on the top of the mountains.  The nights are getting cooler, in the low 50’s F. The wind chimes have been dancing throughout the nights and I am giddy with the anticipation of another pre-autumn day.  There is so much to learn from each of the seasons.  The magic that arrives through nature is breathtakingly beautiful.

We have all heard that saying, “there is a season to everything.” When you live in Florida there really isn’t much of a change.  The subtle changes in the climate, from hot, hot, hotter, don’t really make for changes or modifications.  But here, the metamorphoses in each season make for new beginnings.  There is the upcoming fall: the harvesting of the land; leaves burning into reds, oranges, and yellows and then dying; the ground being covered with their fall to insulate the plants for the upcoming winter. It is a playground for the artist within. Then, everything goes into sleep mode, hibernates, during the winter, as snow falls and nourishes the land; Jack Frost knocking at your window; Christmas bringing loved ones together.  Spring then arrives, bringing new life, budding into action, allowing life to seed, wake, and take over the land again.  Summer, well, after coming from Florida, summer here is really delightful. This year it has been mild and more like hot spring days. Summer is a chance to bring the body into youth with outdoor activities, picnics, and family vacations.  Each season allows the mind, body and spirit to acclimate slowly to the environment.  Each one brings a chance for new beginnings and the knowledge that everything has an ending.

The rhythm of life here and the seasons are remarkable.  I marvel at the opportunities of what each one will bring.  Beginnings and endings are so clearly marked in nature throughout the changing of each cycle.  I welcome this season like a lost friend who’s shown up at my door with a pumpkin pie in one hand a cup of spice Chai tea in the other.  I am ready for the union of fall and the sense of community that comes with it.

Through Joy

california 11-2012 237One morning, near the end of a road trip in California, I woke early to the sound of rain.  I made myself a nice big cup of coffee, dressed in my old jeans and sweater and lit a small cigar my friend had bought for me days prior.  I sat on the cement of the porch in this gorgeous ranch home watching the rain lightly fall all around me.  Pok-a-dots began to appear on my jeans from the residue.  I huffed and puffed on that delicious cigarillo admiring the scenery around me.  I don’t ever get to do this at home with kids around.  I am also very conscious of cigar smell around others.  This moment was for me.  Just me and a messy-dirty-adorable dog name Rufus.

We all have moments for ourselves. Life, in all of its completeness, is occurring right now this very second.  I take my alone times very seriously.  I am asymmetrical.  I do nothing in pairs or with any kind of formation.  I am perfect in my huge imperfections and won’t apologize for them anymore.  This particular moment, sitting in that cold floor, I was wrapped by not only a scarf but the grace of spirit welcoming me to find peace within.  Aha moments are always around… here, there, everywhere.  All I have to do is pick a spot.

There is joy in the simple things of life:  the dog lying next to me snoring, the birds chirping to the entrance of light in the sky, the magnificent sycamore trees erecting towards heaven…so much going on right outside my little head.  I stared far into the gardens of this estate witnessing the fall leaves and their colors dancing in shadow and light and the reflection of water magnifying their intensity.

Needless to say, the memory of that morning still resides in me after nine months.  The simplicity and joy I felt embraced by peace was beyond description.  I need my mornings alone with the Divine.  I need to witness the miracle of every piece of His creation. Whenever I don’t get to do this I feel out of sorts, out of whack, and completely ungrounded.  My feet must touch the dirt at some point.  It is part of me, completing a story of some sort.  In those moments I think of love.  I reflect on my children, my parents, family, friends, and the extension of love from so many.  These are my prayers.  By this time in our trip I was ready to return to my life.  I had done a lot of purging.  I don’t like crowds.  I don’t like busyness, chaos, or any form of superficial energy in motion.  We had entered and exited several big cities.  I needed the mountains.  I needed my children and home.  We were returning in two days.

Almost finishing my cigar and coffee, my best friend came out.  She looked at me and smile, “This is so you.  You in a wrap sucking on a morning cigar!”  I laughed and said something about my “oxymoronic contradictions.”  We shared our early morning laughter.  This is why we are best friends.  The woman takes one look at me and knows exactly what I am thinking.  She can call me out on my bullshit.  She can also hold my hand even when I don’t know that I need to be held.  And, when she sees me in joy’s arms she joins me there with laughter.

Life is not symmetrical.  It isn’t perfect.  It is full of oxymoron characters, messy contradictions, juicy imperfections, tiny scars of pain, but mostly it is filled with the awareness that the journey is always the best part.   Relish those things you enjoy.  Suck on a cigar, drink your wine (everything in moderation), and laugh as much as possible.  In the end, those are the moments that will carry you through the path of joy inside.  It is then that Spirit is holding your hands.   Life is to be attended to through the joy and contentment of simple moments.  Find the balance between this moment and all that awakes in you.  Experience the awakening and let it take you wherever it needs to go!